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Liberty Global shares jump on Vodafone deal speculation

Liberty Global shares jumped this week on the back of speculation that Vodafone could use the cash from its forthcoming sale of Verizon Wireless to bid for the global cable giant.

Liberty shares rose 4% in late trading on 29 August when Macquarie Equities analyst Amy Yong speculated that Verizon could use its new cash to bid for Liberty Global.

“Given the need for scale and scarcity of European cable assets, there are likely significant synergies in a Vodafone-Liberty Global combination,” said Yong.

“The probability of a Vodafone-Liberty Global tie-up has somewhat increased near term.”

Yong also suggested that the two giants could form a wireless services partnership to “exploit the demand for convergent services in certain European markets, including the UK, Netherlands and Germany”.

UK telecoms giant Vodafone recently won out in a battle with Liberty Global for Kabel Deutschland, with Vodafone winning. Liberty Global for its part recently acquired UK cableco Virigin Media.

Vodafone confirmed yesterday that it was in talks with Verizon over the sale of its 45% stake. Reports suggest that Verizon could have to pay Vodafone between $100 and $130 billion.

Yong said that the Verizon-Vodafone transaction was unlikely to be completed before mid-2014.

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